CIC: the caste certificate of a public servant which forms the basis of his selection should be disclosed; the PIO to enquire the genuineness of caste certificate presented by person mentioned in the RTI application complaint and submit a report
1. Appellant is present. Public authority is represented by Shri Sanjay Dewan, PCO.
2. Appellant through his RTI application sought information regarding his complaint concerning fraud in issuing of caste certificate. PIO replied on 08.09.2014 stating that information sought is third party. Being unsatisfied, appellant filed first appeal. FAA by his order dated 22.10.2014 directed the PIO to provide the name of financer, number and date of caste certificate as well as computer records that showed how many permits had been allotted on the basis of caste certificate to the appellant within 15 days. Being unsatisfied with the information provided by PIO, appellant approached the Commission.
Proceedings Before the Commission:
3. Respondent officer submitted that information has been provided in a CD except address of the individuals. The appellant questioned whether address in the caste certificate is ‘third party’ information or not. The officer objected to disclosure and sharing of the address in caste certificate and said that it would be their personal information. The appellant contended that he suspects that some persons might have fake certificate, and to verify the same, he needs such information.
In relation to disclosure of caste certificate, the Commission has been of the view that when a person has been given a job for which the basis of selection has been fulfilling the criteria of caste reservation, it is only pertinent that it is already made public. The Commission in CIC/SG/A/2008/00248/1596 observed as follows:
“While deciding this case, the Commission agrees with the contention of the appellant that when a person “is holding a public office, getting salary from the public exchequer and discharging public functions in a public institution, therefore whatever documents she has submitted in pursuance of her appointment to public office in a public institution falls in public domain.” The act of applying for a job or a selection process is not a private activity but is clearly a Public activity, and disclosure of the documents and papers submitted to obtain the job cannot be held to be an invasion on privacy. This has also been held by the Commission earlier in decision CIC/WB/A/2007/00178, and the Commission agrees with the same. The Commission respectfully disagrees with the decisions relied on by the third party. The Appeal is allowed. The PIO will provide the copies of educational qualification and caste certificates to the appellant before 28 February 2009.”
In another second appeal CIC/OP/A/2009/000173AD, the commission had further reiterated this view:
“The Commission after hearing the submissions made by both sides holds that when an employee has been appointed in reserved category on the basis of caste certificates produced by him, the certificates can no longer be termed as personal or third party information and merit disclosure and accordingly directs the PIO to provide the information as sought by the Appellants in their RTI application. The information to reach the Appellant by 31.1.2010 and the Appellants are directed to submit a compliance report by 7.2.2010.”
Having heard the submission and after perusal of the record, the Commission agrees with the observation as stated above, that the caste certificate of a public servant which forms the basis of his selection should be disclosed. However, as the appellant in the present case is alleging fraud in the making of the caste certificate and is seeking action by the department concerning the same. The Commission, therefore, requires the PIO to enquire the genuineness of caste certificate presented by person mentioned in the RTI application / complaint and submit the report within two months from the date of receipt of this order.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Yashpal Arora v. PIO, Transport Department in Case No. CIC/SA/A/2015/000038